E-letter: Abduction/Valgus Kinematics of Lower Leg Relative to Femur

This e-letter is in response to Non-contact ACL injuries in female athletes: an International Olympic Committee current concepts statement. Abstract | Full Article

This outstanding body of research is a watershed in the fight against ACL-injuries.  This group should be richly commended for this excellent work.

The work points to (a priori) how, in the case of alpine skiing, excessive abduction loading / valgus torque of the lower leg structure relative to the upper leg (about the knee) can be truncated by “detaching” the imposing load from the point of load application at the playing surface in the direction of the applied load.  E.G., if the medial load that applies abduction to the lower leg can be “released” from the lower leg — the abduction / valgus loading will dissipate.  An alpine ski-binding with this capability (via lateral heel release) will provide this capability when the applied load is “released” (when the applied abduction load approaches a pre-determined level that is well below the elastic limit of the acl but which level is above that which is needed to provide “controlled” skiing maneuvers).  Such a binding exists, today, and a prospective intervention study should be considered to study its merits for skiers.

Rick Howell
Dipl. Eng.
Stowe, Vermont, USA

Conflict of Interest: Inventor of alpine ski-binding with independently adjustable, non-inadvertant abduction release in response to excessive valgus loading, but am presently cut-off from financial gain in this IP due to on-going litigation re: ownership rights.

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